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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not literature, but a great insight
This guy created more shareholder wealth than anyone else ever... this is a great run down of what he did and why he did it. It isn't a management textbook, but if you read between the lines, you can infer what it was that made him great. My take is a complete intolerance of mediocrity and a focus so total it's scary. Read it - it's long, but quick and light and peppered...
Published on 13 Nov. 2001

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A view of corporate America from the inside
In the Cult of the CEO, Jack Welch is a High Priest. This book reveals how he rose within GE and subsequently transformed it.
At its core, his GE seemed to revolve around his annual management get togethers at the Boca Raton resort, golf and keeping Wall Street happy. He undoubtedly did the latter very well.
What I found most interesting was the approach to...
Published on 4 Jan. 2003 by C. M. Perkins


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not literature, but a great insight, 13 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
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This guy created more shareholder wealth than anyone else ever... this is a great run down of what he did and why he did it. It isn't a management textbook, but if you read between the lines, you can infer what it was that made him great. My take is a complete intolerance of mediocrity and a focus so total it's scary. Read it - it's long, but quick and light and peppered with anecdotes.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great insight into the Life of a CEO, 26 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
As a frequent flyer I often look for books that are informative and an easy read ... this fits the bill perfectly.
"Jack" offers a wonderful insight into the life of a CEO.
This book not only provides practical descriptions of how some of GE's great improvement programmes (six sigma, boundaryless behaviour, globalisation) were conceptualised and implemented but also outlines the amazing career of a young man from Irish immigrant parents to arguably one of the worlds' most succesful CEOs.
His frank and candid admissions of the mistakes he made throughout his long career (blowing up a factory, arrogance, hiring the wrong guy) not only represent a refreshing departure from the norm, but are also used to explain much of his later behaviour and success.
I would highly recommend this to anyone looking skywards to that CEO spot.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What I've Learned Reading a Great Story from a Great Leader, 24 Jan. 2003
By 
Rasmus Jensen (Frederiksberg Denmark) - See all my reviews
It's now been almost 6 months since I read "Jack: What I've Learned Leading a Great Company and Great People", and I still almost daily find myself pondering on, and referring to, Neutron Jack's inspirational book. When I started reading the book I obviously expected a lot of american self-glorification and not least justification, but what I hadn't expected was the utter abundance of anecdotes and candid views on anything from the game of golf over family matters to what it's all about: big business! And here's the story from the Jedi-master of Big Business. This book takes you from his childhood days as a caddy for the "suits" at the local golf-club, through the accidental blowing up of a manufacturing unit, to high times with the big boys in business and politics.
And if you, like me, have a degree in business, order this book now. Never before have management tools and ideas been presented to you with such logics and candid hindsight realisation. Jack Welch's 20 years as CEO and Chairman of The General Electric Company, the biggest corporation in the world, proves that his ideas and leadership made the difference!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A view of corporate America from the inside, 4 Jan. 2003
By 
C. M. Perkins (Stirling, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In the Cult of the CEO, Jack Welch is a High Priest. This book reveals how he rose within GE and subsequently transformed it.
At its core, his GE seemed to revolve around his annual management get togethers at the Boca Raton resort, golf and keeping Wall Street happy. He undoubtedly did the latter very well.
What I found most interesting was the approach to performance management that evolved under his stewardship and GE's management education at Crotonville.
His requirement for managers to lose 10% of their people every year through the performance appraisal process is often mis-quoted. They didn't automatically get fired. They were often redeployed elsewhere in GE (although I suspect the 'bottom 10%' badge was something they couldn't shake off easily).
GE's performance management process does have some valuable lessons for us all:
1) It was so thorough and permeated the whole organisation - not just an annual form filling exercise. Managers really did manage the performance of their people day-to-day.
2) The relentless focus on top performers and developing talent. Managers didn't get sucked into squandering time on the 'problem child' in their team - largely because everyone knew where he or she was headed. They worked hard to create development opportunities for their top performers and (eventually) saw the benefit in developing others to move them on in the organisation.
Equally, Welch's involvement in Crotonville (GE's Management Development centre) sends a powerful message. An organisation's best people need to see, hear and be close to top management. To stay motivated they need to know that the top people want to spend time with them and see them develop, even if they're just starting out on their management career.
Other than that, the book is a middle of the road autobiography of a top business leader.
Buy it if you want great reference material on performance management, Six Sigma or how to turn a big bricks and mortar company into an e-business player.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars People Are Important To Business, 29 April 2005
By 
Curns "curns" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Jack: Straight from the Gut (Paperback)
Jack Welch was Chairman and CEO of General Electric for twenty years and this is a book about his time from joining to leaving the company that became his life. Apparently Jack was seen as the 'toughest boss in America' and I suspect the book is trying to soften the historical edges a little. What comes across clearly is a commitment to a company and a desire to grow it. Many businesses could do better with a firmer management and a realistic look at the way things are done. Jack Welch doesn't seem to be the kind of CEO to run scared of the change no matter how painful that be. Throughout the book he stresses the importance that good people be allowed to excel and that poor performers are probably better elsewhere. It seems a ruthless approach but it appears to have worked for GE and, I think Jack would argue, it worked better for the people involved. Don't expect a management handbook as 'Straight From The Gut' is too human (and full of golf stories) to be seen as a Director's guide but it is an extremely readable insight into big business. If you don't like his approach I believe there are interesting lessons about the capabilities of people and what they can bring to business for anybody regardless of the size of company or position you hold within it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, bad philosophy, 24 Jan. 2003
By 
C. Edwards (United States) - See all my reviews
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Fast paced and full of energy, JW lets you feel each of his internal promotions and business deals with him .
Despite his passion and commitment to his task JW cannot help but reveal his arrogance and ruthlessness. The reader's respect for his dedication and ambition is slightly tarnished by JW's obvious philosophy of "loving things and using people".
Welch attempts to paint two pictures of his business philosophy which are nonetheless transparent.
(1) He endeavours to create the impression that he values and cares for his staff, however, it is clear throughout that he views people as products and that he is extremely good at manipulating them and getting the best from them.
(2) He also emphasises his commitment to breaking down the GE bureacracy but suppresses the truth of his having engineered a monolithic autocracy - it's Jack's way or the highway.
This is a fantastic read which I highly recommend. Read it and feel it. It is not, however, a business handbook, so enjoy the book for the enthusiasm JW imparts, but please don't buy into his philosophy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSIGHT INTO WHAT MAKES A LEADER A LEADER, 21 Mar. 2002
When I was given this book by my daughter, I initially thought that it may be a little tedious, since it is quite long. However, it is as inspiring as its author, and just as compelling. Rather than a chronological account of the author's life, this book is centred around Jack Welsh's life at General Electric and the way that his involvement with this company and its people have help to shape his life.
Frank and down to earth, Jack details his successes as well as his failures - taking the time to recognise those people who helped him to achieve his success within this US giant.
If you want some insight into the psyche of someone way ahead of his time in terms of business leadership, then this book is a must!
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack Has the Last Word, 20 Sept. 2001
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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Review Summary: This autobiography of Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001, primarily focuses on the key initiatives (such as focusing on businesses with #1 or #2 market shares, selecting the best executive prospects, creating a learning organization, expanding GE Capital, Six Sigma, e-business development, and the attempted acquisition of Honeywell) during his tenure as CEO.
The key principles behind his successful management style are spread throughout the book and summarized in part of chapter 24, "What This CEO Thing Is All About."
In most chapters, he briefly highlights the history and thinking that led to the initiative, shares a few examples of what went right and wrong, explains what his thoughts were while the initiative was occurring, and provides a scorecard for GE's performance.
What will be new to most people are a deeper exposure to his communications style, a balancing of what the popular press has said about events during his tenure, and a stronger flavor of his focus on improving the quality of GE's management teams.
The roots of his successful approaches will be easily found in the example of his mother, and his early experiences at GE.
Those who are looking for a management book will be disappointed in the volume.
Readers who want a lot more detail on the specific successes will often be disappointed as well. The book is very candid, but typically operates at a pretty superficial level.
Review: The bulk of this book is framed by the experience of being welcomed with "Congratulations, Mr. Chairman!" and given a hug by his predecessor, Reg Jones, and doing the same for his successor, Jeff Immelt. Jack Welch feels that in between those events he helped create "the greatest people factory in the world, a learning enterprise with a boundaryless culture." In looking back on his role, he sees it as being 75 percent about people, and 25 percent about everything else. He notes in his opening remarks to "please remember that every time you see the word I in these pages, it refers to all those colleagues and friends [as well] . . . ." The author's profits from this book are being donated to charity.
As someone who made his share of mistakes along the way (including blowing up a small chemical factory with an experiment early in his tenure at GE), Dr. Welch is aware of the need to recognize those who take big swings and miss the ball. Having grown up in the small plastics business in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he also strove to create "a small company spirit in a big-company body." His characterizations of himself are brutally frank prior to becoming CEO, and less so thereafter. One story that most will remember is how his mother upbraided him in the locker room for throwing his stick after the team lost its seventh straight hockey game in overtime. "You punk, if you don't know how to lose, you'll never know how to win." As a young man at GE he says, "I was brutally honest and outspoken. I was impatient and, to many, abrasive . . . [which included being] earthy, loud, and excitable." Throughout the experience at GE, he feels that "I never changed who I was."
He offers a lot of arguments for his views that are not always balanced by the views of others. He is defensive about his reputation for cutting jobs, but argues that he was doing what was needed. His self assessment is that "I took too long to act." On contamination of the Hudson by PCBs, he is proud of GE's record and feels victimized by government. He asserts that all evidence to the contrary is just plain wrong.
What is my view of the most positive legacy of Jack Welch, after reading this book? He made important contributions in at least these areas:
(1) Creating a helpful model for how to locate, encourage, and develop managers with the right values and the ability to deliver good business results.
(2) Showing how to develop a financial services business from a manufacturing company base, something that has rarely been done successfully.
(3) Establishing a helpful example for how to change the management style of a major company away from centralized bureaucracies.
That's quite a lot compared with his contemporaries. Congratulations, Dr. Welch!
As a book about how to manage, few will find this more than a two or three star effort . . . but that was not the book's purpose. As an autobiography, few insights are present past chapter six, and all of the anecdotes about the initiatives while he was CEO simply retell the same story of a bright, results-oriented man who was constantly looking for a better way. In terms of being an autobiography, more than half the book could have been edited out. As a result of too much rambling at a superficial level, this is a three star autobiography. Clearly, Dr. Welch himself is a five-star effort. I combined these perspectives to assign the book a three star rating. Those who look at the book carefully in the absence of considering his track record may feel that I am too generous. A lot of his Deep Dives into the organization will impress many readers as little more than meddling micromanagement by someone with a very large ego.
After you read this book, I encourage you to think about what you would want to be able to say about yourself in an autobiography when you retire. What will your positive legacy be? How will people who don't know you perceive what you have to say about what you did and thought?
Work on improving yourself as the first step towards organizational progress!...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful practical ideas about leadership., 17 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
You can't be but impressed with this book. In the twenty years he led GE he steered GE to be one of the world's outstanding companies. It contains lots of helpful & practical ideas about leadership and how to design effective organisations. Many of the issues he raised are also reflected in 'Smart Management' by David Butcher and Martin Clarke. These books provide real insight into the realities of organisations today; how to be successful in making things happen whilst having fun. Buy them both.
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4.0 out of 5 stars My first business autobiography, 19 May 2011
This was the first business autobiography I read. Even though I owned a print back in my country, I had to revisit this book and got it for the second time. Great insight into the life of a top business executive. Jack talks about the good and the bad times. There is a lot to learn Jack Welch. His thought process is intriguing and makes the reader think as well. For a business student this is a must read for the vast knowledge Jack possesses. For a casual reader, it'll give you an insight into the life of a top business honcho.
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Jack: Straight from the Gut
Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch (Paperback - 22 Dec. 2003)
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